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May Robinson [userpic]

Fic Update: Armistice (ch 6 of 9)

August 26th, 2007 (02:14 pm)

how i am: complacent
accompanied by: The Beatles, Sgt Peppers

Summary: Pre-series. A hunt gone terribly wrong prompts John's first trip to Stanford. Dean's hurt and hurting, father and son angst ensues. Chapter 6 of 9.
Rating: T (PG-13), language.
Pairing: None, Gen, Dean and John Winchester
Spoilers: None.
Notes: Thanks to Penny, Heather and Jennie for helping to make this a better fic.  
Disclaimers: See my profile page.

by May Robinson

Chapter 6 - Staging

Since Debra and the other nurses had taken pity on him, John decided he was going to have to get them more flowers. Thank them for the sleeping chair they'd borrowed from one of the other floors. He couldn't exactly disagree with Dean about looking like Granny Clampett using the thing but, fact was, it was so much easier on his back and butt. John hadn't really cared before about sleeping comfortably because the last thing he'd wanted, while Dean was so out of it, was to sleep at all. But now that he knew Dean was better, he could concede and admit that he needed some shut-eye as well. Debra had insisted she'd wake him whenever they came in to check on Dean, which was kind of her really but completely unnecessary. He might allow himself to drift off, but there was no way in hell anyone was getting near one of his sleeping kids with him around. Not as long as John was breathing.

He had no idea how long he'd been asleep this time when his eyes popped open. Fighting through the grogginess, he tried to determine just what had woken him. There was no panic, no tingling sense of urgency spurring him into vivid awareness. The sharp burst of adrenalin that always alerted his body the minute his instincts got wind of danger never materialized. Chalking up his sudden wakefulness to some forgotten dream, he stretched his arms up behind him, yawning widely as his blanket slipped off his lap. He let it fall, opting to rub sleep-encrusted eyes and then a hand through his hair before turning to check on his sleeping son.

Or rather, his not sleeping son.

Though he definitely looked worn out, John was a little shocked to find Dean awake, curled on his side and staring at him. Despite the dimness of the room, John could see that Dean's expressive eyes were boring into him. Okay, so that explains a lot.

"Dean?" His voice came out rough and John looked at the wall clock, figuring how long he'd been out. It was twenty to two which meant about an hour and a half this go-around but he must have been sleeping deep.

Concern wormed its way into John's stomach but he forced it down while at the same time rising from the recliner and taking the few steps required to reach his kid's bedside.

Flipping on the wall lamp above the bed, he asked, "You hurting, son?" No longer hooked up to anything beyond his IV, John resorted to tried and true methods, reflexively seeking out Dean's forehead and cheekbones with the back of his hand and finding them reassuringly cool. No reason to call for help yet, he fervently hoped.

"I'm fine," Dean answered but he didn't sound that way at all. Not hurting so much, but he seemed down. Infinitely sad. John sighed, frustration prickling his senses, and planted himself onto the hardback chair once again. Readying himself for another round.

He'd been relieved that he hadn't needed a score card in the last few hours to keep track of Dean's emotions, but now had to wonder why his son seemed depressed. "What's wrong then? How come you're awake?"

Despite the huddled view John was getting of Dean's features, he could see a smirk working its way onto his face. Problem was, Dean was clearly working too hard to get it there. He was faking it. "The chainsaw six feet away from me might've had something to do with it."

"I damn well don't snore," John replied, indignant and coming fully awake. Even knowing that Dean's smart-assing was purely a diversionary tactic, John still fell for it. Kid always did know how to push the right buttons. Just rarely did it with John.

"No, you don't," Dean agreed, surprising John as the kid's smirk fell away much more easily than it had arisen. "But you were just now. Go back to sleep, Dad. You're more bagged than I am."

John couldn't really argue the point. He was worn out. Still, he had no intention of going back to sleep. Not while his son was looking so miserable. Besides, Debra was due to come back within twenty or so and this time they were taking the kid for another CT-scan. Doctor Rowe wanted to see if there had been any changes since his last scan and John intended to be fully coherent for that.

"I'm not crashing again any time soon, dude. Not with the doc and company coming for you."

"I don't get why they have to do the scan anyway," Dean complained. "Any moron could figure out I'm getting better. Even Doc Hollywood there. It's a waste of fucking time."

Okay, so that was reason number one for Dean's mood. He was worried about the test. That made sense, knowing how much his son disliked hospitals and didn't want to be trapped in them any longer than necessary. John could understand that. Felt that way a time or two himself. "It's S.O.P., Dean. Gotta be done, so just deal. Besides, I highly doubt it's gonna delay you getting your walking papers, all right?" He placated, or tried to. Bitching and moaning never earned his boys much in the way of sympathy. That and lack of sleep were definitely wearing John's patience a little thin.

"And just exactly when is that going to be?"

"You heard what Rowe said last time. . . or did you forget?" John had been about to repeat what the doctor had stated during his nightly rounds - that, as long as Dean stayed nausea-free, he'd be released some time on Saturday - but niggling concern over potential setbacks kept John from continuing.

"I remember," Dean sighed, squeezing his eyes shut against his apparent misery.

John wasn't sure if Dean's obvious pain was physical at this point or not. He reached out and gave his shoulder the slightest of shakes. "Hey, you need more meds?"

"I can't take another two days of this place, Dad." Technically it was only about a day and a half now but John didn't really think correcting Dean would help matters at the moment. Hell, the kid sounded so despondent; John feared that a bout of unwelcome waterworks might be fast approaching and beyond Dean's control.

"Why? You got a hot date I don't know about?" He let the sarcasm roll off his tongue. With an audience due to invade the room any minute, he was doing his damnedest to prevent Dean from any embarrassment.

"No." Dean's eye roll was so pronounced, with his concussion it must have hurt. "C'mon, Dad." John was really hoping for a stronger reaction than a whine.

"Then explain the fucking rush?" That oughtta do it.

"I can't!"

Yahtzee. Not that John felt much pride in successfully baiting Dean. In fact he couldn't help but feel guilty for the way Dean had suddenly clenched his jaw and squeezed his eyes shut once again. Besides, even when those eyes re-opened, he still looked dejected. With maybe a hint of resignation. John would just have to keep pushing. Harder this time

"All right, spill it. Now, Dean," his expression and tone brooking no further argument.

"You really don't want to hear this, Dad," he sighed, clearly troubled. Which, of course, had the same effect on his father.

"Why don't you let me be the judge of that?"

"Fine. . . I want to see Sam."

Defiance wasn't exactly what John had been aiming for either. Well, shit. Here we go. "Damn it, Dean--"

"No, Dad. . ." Dean insisted, working to right himself in the bed. John reached forward to help but Dean was too keyed up and shoved his father's hands away. "Don't you get it? I need to see Sam. We're almost there and I can't not go."

Still struggling to get himself into a defensible position, John couldn't stand it anymore. Couldn't listen to Dean's gasps and hisses nor watch his obvious agony as he fought against his infirmity. "Stop!" He shouted and, with a pronounced flinch, Dean stilled immediately. It was like Pavlov and his damn dog and, times like these, John understood why it sickened Sam so much to witness it. "Hold still, goddamn it." Despite the disgusted twist in his own gut, John didn't hold back. Didn't dare relinquish his command until he had Dean settled into a position his fragile skull could bear. "That's it, just take it easy." John pinned him lightly in place with one hand as he fumbled with the remote for the bed until he had Dean elevated so that they could talk face to face.

"Fuck," Dean groaned, Adam's apple bobbing erratically as he tried to swallow back the pain. The kid's pallor was about one shade south of milk and sweat was pooling above his lip and in the hollow at the base of his throat.

"You need a nurse?" At what was barely a headshake, John cupped Dean's neck, firmly kneading the bands of tension at the base of his son's skull. Dean didn't resist, even held still, eyes closed and simply breathing until he finally relaxed, breaths in tandem with his dad's.

Father and son stayed like that for a few more minutes, until Dean grasped John's forearm, stilling its motion before setting a glare upon his old man that would have made his mother proud.

John got the message. His kid might be accepting of, even grateful for, the comfort, might still be hurting like hell, but that didn't change anything. He wasn't going to back off now. Fuck was right.

John pulled back, letting go of Dean at the same time Dean released his grip. John sighed heavily and fixed his own stern gaze upon his son, preparing for the battle of wills. "Look at yourself," he started with the obvious. "You are simply not up to it, boy."

Dean blinked hard, setting his jaw before meeting his father's stare. "Dad, we can do this. I'll be all right. I'll just sleep in the car and you can keep waking me every two hours if that's what Rowe wants. We'll take it slow." It was becoming painfully obvious to John that Dean had been using his dad's brief respite of sleep to establish his case. Sam would've definitely approved. "I gotta do this, Dad," he was practically begging now, something Dean never did. . . not healthy, anyway. "And it has to be tomorrow."

"What? No way. Not a fucking chance in hell!"

"Dad, listen. . ." he implored. "Tomorrow's Friday and then spring break starts and then who knows where Sam'll end up? He's got classes until three and then he'll be gone."

John had no idea where or how Dean had come up with all this. Correction, Jim Murphy had some explaining to do, he was sure of it. John couldn't believe he was giving Dean the time of day right now, this was so fucking ridiculous, but for a moment there he was actually glad he'd tuned in. It gave him a valid argument or at least some better ammo to use than simply threatening to handcuff Dean to his bed.

"Gone where, Dean? Sam's got no place to go."

"Right, sure," he scoffed, definitely getting on John's nerves. "It's been six months. When has he ever not managed to make friends if we stayed anywhere that long?" Kid had a point. "You know someone's offered to take him home by now. Given him a place to stay."

Dean was right. John's youngest made friends easily, always warmed up to people and they warmed to him. Even in his element - at school - where he was most confident, Sam still exuded motherless child and people always wanted to look after him. He wouldn't be left alone this week. Now that he had time to think about it, John believed it just as Dean did. Didn't matter though, this whole discussion was insane and John wasn't going to risk further injury to Dean based on wishful thinking and a strong maybe.

"You think you've got it all figured out, don't you?" John didn't try to hide his condescension. "Well, smartass, who's to say he hasn't skipped out on tomorrow's classes and left already?"

"You kiddin' me? We're talking Sam here." Apparently Dean wasn't holding back his disdain either. "He won't bail. Not if that's gonna risk his ride."

All right, so Dean was probably right on that count too. Sam might be willing to disrespect his father but there was no way in hell he'd disrespect his scholarship. If Sam had classes until three the Friday before spring break, he'd be there until three. But, in the end, Dean's argument didn't matter. There was still the very real complication of Dean being hurt and unable to hold his head up, let alone get around. John shouldn't have let this argument get this far.

"Okay, point taken," he conceded, but ready to drop his bomb. "But I still can't say yes to this. Won't. I will not in good conscience take you out of this hospital when you're this hurt. Christ, Dean, you can't even sit up by yourself." John hadn't meant to, but his fear for Dean's wellbeing slipped out. Voice rough with emotion trying to disguise itself as reason, he added, "Even if I was willing, sport, there's no way Rowe'll release you in the shape you're in."

"Then Dean Wyman is signing out AMA. But even if I do, I'm not an idiot, Dad. I know I can't do this without you." His voice cracking, Dean still managed to sound determined while utterly defeated at the same time.

John couldn't look Dean in the eye. Damn this fucking concussion, his son was on the verge again the way those eyes were swimming. Resolutely contemplating the floor, John couldn't believe he was even considering this. Damn him for having refused Dean the other night. He could've let him go. The kid might've gotten hurt if Sammy had been unreceptive but that definitely would've been preferable to hospitalized with a messed up head and emotions shot to hell.

"I wouldn't ask if I didn't have to but I can't do this alone. I need your help, Dad. I need to see my brother."

The hamster in his head was turning the wheel a mile a minute as John desperately tried to come up with a compromise. Going to get Sam was not a viable option; he simply wasn't willing to leave Dean the eight or nine hours it would take to make the return trip. Never mind the fact that John's only greeting once he got to Palo Alto might be a door slammed in his face.

Okay, so maybe he wasn't being fair. Sammy would come if he found out Dean was hurt. Wouldn't he?

"What if you called? Asked him to come here?" He hadn't really meant to voice that. Wasn't honestly sure if Dean could handle it right now if Sam said no.

And Dean wouldn't look John in the eye. Slumping back further against the bed, a loose thread hanging from the edge of his blanket suddenly capturing his attention. Seconds passed and when it became abundantly clear that Dean had no response to give, John stilled the fidgety hand with his own, demanding an answer, "Dean?"

"He won't pick up." Whispered words, reverberating with pain. "He never does."

Dean's eyes remained downcast, long lashes shadowing the smudges still residing underneath them and John could feel the grief radiating from Dean's every pore. Grasping at straws, an overwhelming desire to help his son drove him as he suggested, "What if we called from my cell?"

"You think I haven't?"



Shaking off the hit, John tried again. "Then what about from here?"

"What? No, he--" Dean seemed bewildered all of a sudden and John abruptly realized he was pressing too hard. Dean had his reasons for balking, namely having already suffered more than enough rejection from Sam in the manner of ignored phone calls. "I mean, we never--" Choking off his words, he finally looked at his father and there it was, that all consuming grief and misery laid bare for John to see. John realized exactly where Dean was going with his disjointed thoughts. . . twenty years of sidestepping cops, creditors and CFS and drilling into his boys' heads to never pick up a call from an unknown number was a hard lesson to forget. No wonder Dean was acting as jittery as a cornered animal. Sammy picking up his phone would be damn near as much of a rejection of their family and his upbringing as his slamming out the door six months ago had been.

"Okay," John cut in, his hand shooting forward to grasp Dean's wrist, offering up a reassuring squeeze. No longer able to bear witness to his son's heartache but at a loss as to how to help him, he simply repeated, "Okay," and tried to get his own churning emotions under control.

Well, that was it then. They were screwed, shit outta luck and up the proverbial--

Damn it.

All. To. Hell.

He was going to cave. Unable to stop himself, John looked at the clock and began calculating. Fours hours to drive there, maybe five with stops to check on Dean, taking it slow. Even though it was almost two a.m. now, they still had plenty enough time. Dean could still rest up here. John would have to get some more sleep too, make sure he didn't run his kid's car into a guardrail. The idea was still crazy, but do-able.

Finally meeting Dean's eyes, the longing reflected there just ripped John through to his core. It was a fact that Dean never really asked anything of his father and despite his better judgment John just didn't have it in him anymore to say no. Of all the times to throw in the towel, Winchester. "Damn it, Dean."

"Is that a yes?"

"Yes, it's a fucking yes," he growled, adding, "Let me see what I can do about getting you sprung," as he stood up and headed toward the door. Before leaving the room though he spun back to his son. He couldn't let the kid celebrate yet, not without adding -- sternly, "You realize this has one condition applied to it. . . we're only leaving if that Cat-scan comes back clean."

"Deal." Dean grinned wide. John hadn't seen that smile in a long time and hadn't realized until just now how much he'd missed it.

"All right then," John said, as he turned back to the door, emotions warring between elation that he'd made Dean happy and trepidation that this was a gargantuan error in judgment.

"Hey, Dad?"

John reined in his impatience. Didn't Dean realize how hard this was? How the dread coursing through his veins was already insisting that he take his words back? Delaying his walk down the hall to the nurses' station was not helping matters.

At all.


"You won't regret this."

On first glance, Dean looked so cocksure. But John knew his son, knew to look beyond the brashness and the smirks to see into his soul. And those eyes were telling him now that his son was scared too. And that he was looking for the reassurance that, even after God knew how many years of failure, only his father could give him. "I know, kiddo. I know." If only John could believe it himself.

To be continued.


Additional notes: For the TV trivia buffs out there, technically the name of Irene Ryan's character of "Granny" on the Beverly Hillbillies was "Daisy Moses". Still, I figured most people, the Winchesters included, would think of her as a Clampett, just like Jed and Elly May.

To Chapter 7  

Back to Ch 1   Ch 2   Ch 3   Ch 4   Ch 5

This fic is being cross-posted to 

supernaturalficand hurt_dean.



Posted by: Late Night Drops of Random (moondropz)
Posted at: August 26th, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)

*Bounces* Love this ;-P

Posted by: May Robinson (may7fic)
Posted at: August 26th, 2007 07:28 pm (UTC)
Bros on set

*Grins* at your bouncing! Things are looking good and I should be able to get it all up today.

Posted by: Late Night Drops of Random (moondropz)
Posted at: August 26th, 2007 08:09 pm (UTC)

I'm already through chapter 8 ;-P *Still wiping my eyes from the tears* *Loves*

Posted by: limpflig (quirkies)
Posted at: December 13th, 2008 07:47 am (UTC)

i had an unfortunate LJ interruption but now i'm back! and dean wants his sammy! the confession about the phone calls broke my heart. and the catch 22 about sam answering for an unknown number is brilliant. john did his best, he really did, but dean totally won that round. *bites nails*

Posted by: May Robinson (may7fic)
Posted at: December 14th, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
John Dean IMToD

So glad you enjoyed this part and were able to follow Dean's convoluted logic ;) *g* I'm thrilled that the phone call confession moved you... I wanted that to have an impact and it's so good to know it did ;)